Liverpool

Why Always Me will never walk alone…

Balotelli Man City PicWhy always me? That seems to be the question, and, the answer seems to be quite simple, really – because you make everything about you. Many players in the world would never get away with the mischievous crap that Mr. Balotelli has gotten away with in his career. He’s rubbed heads with Mourinho, who at one point called him “unmanageable,” and at another point, he even described managing him as a “comedy.” Even levelheaded Roberto Mancini’s had his fair share of fights with the kid, at one point even getting into somewhat of a physical altercation with him at the Man City training ground.

That said, at Milan last year, he was quite behaved, but is he really worth the risk for Balotelli Milan Pic
a Liverpool squad that’s bought into Brendan Rodger’s team mentality? I truly don’t know. The thought of Balotelli and Sturridge playing up front together seems rather mouth watering, but are they too similar of players? Will Balotelli give up on the pitch if things aren’t going right for him or the team? Those are questions that need to be considered…

Liverpool fans are known to be some of the best fans in the world. Above all else, they truly clamor over effort and work ethic on the pitch. As long as you give 100%, you’ll win over the hearts of their fans. But, does Balotelli play every game like it’s his last? Saurez truly embodied the mentality that Liverpool fans covet and relate to, like them, he’s a blue-collar guy. Furthermore, he plays every game with a passion that not too many players have, and that sometimes even he can’t handle (as represented by his three separate biting incidents). Plus, he produced on the pitch. Saurez worked for everything that he has today, not that Balotelli hasn’t, but Mario has been pampered his entire career, unlike his Uruguayan counterpart.

Saurez Balotelli PicSince he was a youth player, Balotelli’s antics have been put up with due to two things, his immense skill, and potential. But, now that he’s hitting the age of 24, that potential should have already been realized. Here’s what I mean by that: Had he already become world class as many expected, he wouldn’t have moved around so much, or been sold to Liverpool for a measly 16 million pounds. To put that in perspective, Barcelona bought Saurez for almost quadruple that price. And there’s a reason for that – although he’s sometimes just as ill-tempered, he’s also quadruple as talented. You can disagree with me there if you like, but, I’d stubbornly defend my point. The good news for Liverpool fans is that like Balotelli, Saurez came over to Liverpool when he was only 24, and over the course of the last three years, he’s developed into a world class footballer. So, Mario could conceivably do the same. But, because players of Suarez’s calibre are so rare, it’s hard to imagine that Balotelli will end up getting any better than he already is. I suppose Rodgers and the team around him will have a lot to do with his development.

Perhaps the best thing Balotell has to look forward to at Liverpool is the opportunity to play with such a young crop of talent. Balotelli crying picHe can grow with Sturridge, Henderson, Coutinho and Sterling. He can develop both in training and on the field with them. One moment that really stuck with me, was when he cried at Euro 2012, it expressed his desire for success, and if Rodgers can take him, and influence him to a point where the energy that he exerts into his silly antics is instead inserted into his energy on the field, he could be an awesome signing.

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Arsenal FC

Arsenal should buy Di Maria

Di Maria Sanchez pic for blogCall it a long shot, but I’m going to put it out there anyway, Arsenal should buy Di Maria. I don’t care what you, or anyone else thinks, if Arsenal is going to win this year, or next, then they need to invest in talent more than once in each summer transfer window. Furthermore, his purchase would be a huge blow to every other team out there, and propel them to the next level. 

I’ve never been so excited about discussing something that probably won’t happen, but hey, excitement is best shared, right? Let me explain how much of an effect a purchase like this could have, on both Arsenal, and the entire footballing world.

1: By flexing their financial muscle one more time this summer, Arsenal not only prove to every club that they are not Arsene Wenger pic for blogto be messed with, but they also prove to all the players out there in the world that they’re in it to win it, and in doing so, become an even more desirable destination for both youth players, and world stars alike.

2, Di Maria is world class, put him on the opposite side of Sanchez, and allow Arsenal’s already incredible midfield of player makers to feed him the ball – and he’ll thrive even more than last year. Furthermore, Di Maria was unhappy at being played out of position at Real – at Arsenal, he would not only play on the left wing, but he’d be forced to take on more of a scoring role, similar to the roles Ronaldo and Bale have at his current club. At Arsenal, no longer would he be in a supporting role on the pitch, he would effectively be the main man, and main goal scorer. Plus, off the field, he would be Arsenal’s Batman, rather than Ronaldo’s Robin.

Ozil Arsenal pic for blog3: Di Maria’s talent is off the grid, he deserves more recognition. I wrote a post in the past about how ridiculous I think it is that Real seemed to have overlooked his importance to the team this past year (read that article here). Di Maria, if given more recognition, and a leadership role at Arsenal, would not only improve, but become a legend. 

4: He and Sanchez are engines – they would cause so many issues for opposing team’s defenses as their batteries never run out. And, with Ramsey (another engine) playing behind them, Arsenal would become crazy good and instantly become title contenders. Call me crazy, but Wenger could also experiment with Walcott at Striker if he purchases Di Maria. I’ve always thought Walcott would be better employed their, instead of at the wing. Plus, Ozil is familiar with Di Maria’s style of play, and getting those two back on the same pitch together would be a site for the eyes. 

5: Last but not least… why not? If you have the money, and the talent, and you’re goal is to win trophies, then why not? Furthermore, Di Maria would make the team bucket loads of money.

Anyway, as I’ve said, this transfer probably won’t happen, but, Arsenal have the funds to make it happen, and that’s what is so frustrating about it. Through purchasing Di Maria, Manchester United effectively drop out of contention for the next couple years in my opinion. The majority of Arsenal players are mid twenties, hitting their prime, Manchester United are in a rebuilding phase, and taking players of Di Maria’s calibre off the market, would really affect both rival, and football stars, as they would want to play with high profile guys like Di Maria, Ozil, and Sanchez. Let’s make this happen folks, repost this Facebook and get them to do the same, we gotta create a buzz around the idea that his transfer could actually happen!

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Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Clubs, Manchester City, Manchester United

Premier League Summer Transfer Review

Sanchez pic for blogArsenal have now made two big summer signings in each of the last two years… Ozil last summer, and Sanchez this time around. In doing so, Arsenal have come up as huge players in the transfer market… In buying Sanchez, Arsene Wenger has not only brought over a team player, but an experienced leader. I enjoyed Ozil’s move to the Emirates last summer, but I don’t think he possesses the leadership and conviction necessary to sweep away the players around him. When Ramsey went down last year, Arsenal lost the lifeblood of their team – he was the clock that never stopped ticking… And, you could tell that they missed his presence on the field. In fact, when he went down, their midfield seemed disillusioned and wary, missing his leadership and energy… but, with the arrival of Sanchez, the young Arsenal players get a world class player with that Ramsey-esque world class mentality – that will be sure to keep everyone on point. Furthermore, Keiran Gibbs declared Sanchez an “animal” in training – which goes to show you how mentally fit, focused and committed he is at getting better at his craft. Journalists would be dead wrong if they shared the same assessment of Sanchez that they did about Ozil at this past summer’s world cup. In fact, it’d be blasphemy to ever say that Sanchez hasn’t put his heart and soul on the pitch every time he’s been on it. With Laurent Koscielny in the back, Ramsey in the middle, and Sanchez in the front, Arsenal now have a psychologically fit player with strong leadership, in all thirds of the pitch, and I truly do believe that they’ll fight honorably for this year’s premiership title… I think they’ll finish second or third… That said, Wilshere needs to step it up – and, it wouldn’t hurt them to buy a true defensive midfielder… but, even if they don’t, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Now on to Manchester, who finally seem “united” again . LvG has somehow taken lifeless players and breathed a new Herrerah pic for blogsense of belief into them… Ashley Young, Kagawa, Rooney, and even Chicharito have starred in their preseason campaign this summer, and, I believe their new 3-4-1-2 formation has a lot to do with it. Ander Herrera’s move to United kind of took me by surprise at first, but, what I’ve learned over the course of the summer is that LvG knows exactly how to put his players in the best position to win. United, like the Netherlands, don’t have any world class center backs, so, it makes sense to start Jones, Smalling and Evans together – with the attack oriented Rafael and Luke Shaw as wingbacks to offer support to both the attack and defense. Furthermore, Herrera’s combative yet technical nature seems to be exactly what the back three will need in front of them this year. He will play in a similar role as Nigel de Jong for the Netherlands this past summer, and will certainly succeed through developing a rapport with Spanish compatriot Juan Mata. With the back three, two wingbacks, and Herrera all shoring up the defense, players like Rooney, Van Persie, Ashley Young (unless LvG keeps playing him at wingback), Nani (if he gets his act together), Kagawa, Valencia, Mata, and Welbeck, will all be able to exert full energy to their attacking efforts. This will inevitably cause problems for anyone they face… And you’ll hear it here first. I think they’ll win the premier league this year because of it… even despite their terrible first season game.

Costa pic for blogChelsea have seemed to make all the right moves, but honestly, I’m not sure that they have. Although I love the Fabregas purchase, as it finally addresses the midfield hole that they’ve had since selling Mata, I think they’ve really missed the boat by selling David Luiz, and here’s why: Although Luiz played really well in a defensive midfield position last year, I think that he would have come into his own this year and really mastered it. In fact, I think his role at Chelsea this past year played a part in his ineffectual displays at the world cup playing center back with Silva. In other words, my mouth waters at the thought of Fabregas, Luiz, and Ramires in the Chelsea midfield together at the same time… Matic lacks the Fabregas pic for blogtechnical quality that Luis possesses, and he also isn’t as physically gifted… Chelsea must stop selling the wrong players, and start buying the right ones to compliment who they already have. For Mourinho, that means learning how to adapt to his players needs, rather than to his own, and also believing that he can make mistakes, because right now, his ego should be at an all time low due to the fact that he hasn’t won almost anything in the past two seasons… Chelsea should never have sold Mata, Luiz, or Lukaku… But anyways, this is the year that the “special one,” could potentially digress to being called the “tensile one,” especially if he again doesn’t win anything. That said I think they’ll finish third or fourth, and I don’t understand why everyone has them as favorites… I know Costa is immensely talented, but will he adapt well to English football? I guess we’ll find out this year…

Mangala pic for blogMan City addressed their only concern in the transfer market by buying Eliaquim Mangala… Kompany’s mouth must be watering at the thought of playing next to a center back that’s as physically gifted as he is. Demichelis was a solid back, but not as solid as Man City could afford. Furthermore, he’s old and Kompany has had to pick up the slack on many occasions last year due to his lack of pace. Perhaps they could have purchased another striker, but if Aguero stays healthy, I don’t think they’l necessarily need on. Manchester City will be a huge force this year, no doubt about it, and from my point of view, they’ll defend their league title unless if United do not. And, if they don’t they’l, certainly finish second.

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Arsenal FC

Community Shield Review

Ramsey Community Shield PicArsenal looked unbelievable in today’s game against Man City, unfortunately it’s a game that doesn’t mean much, especially as Manchester City didn’t play many starters. Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero weren’t suited up, and others like David Silva began the game on the bench.

The first 20 minutes were dominated by Arsenal possession, as they swung around short passes that lead to a Santi Cazorla’s goal. The one issue though, Sanogo’s skills are better suited to the counter-attack than they are in a possession-based short-pass attack. He proved this on Arsenal’s second goal, when Alexis Sanchez placed a perfect through ball to him while he was in stride, then he managed to pass the ball off to Ramsey who took a brilliant touch before finishing with class. Despite the fact that Sanogo is very young, Arsenal still do miss a good striker with the quality of an Adebayor who could make the right runs, and also hold possession of the ball. If Thierry Henry, the full package, were part of this current Arsenal team, it’d be quite interesting to see the amount of damage he could do. Arsenal could do well to purchase a striker with a bit more quality. I know it’s ironic that I say that after Giroud’s stunner, but, let’s be honest, he won’t do that often this year. If Giroud were to go down with injury, Sanogo and Joel Campbell would be the only strikers left – Sanchez is not a striker, but rather he’s a more of a right winger/forward. In other words, if Giroud were to go down with injury, it’d be ridiculous that the backup options on a top team like Arsenal would be Campbell and Sanogo. Anyway, back to today’s game…

Alexis Sanchez looked great today, he started many of Arsenal’s counter attacks, dribbling the ball from Arsenal Community Shield picwith great pace and control. Although he wasn’t always able to pick out the right passes, once he gets used to the players around him, his high quality will be on full display.

Calum Chambers looked very strong next to Koscielny, although he got beat by Dzeko on a run down the left side. He’s only 19, and will develop if he’s keen to learn from those around him. Debuchy also looked great, making runs down the right half to support the attack.

It’s quite difficult to make an assessment of Manchester City, especially as many of their starers had no part in today’s game. But, I will say that the scoreline should have, and easily could have, been a lot closer had Nasri finished a cross in the box. At full strength, today’s game would have been quite thrilling, but considering that Arsenal was playing against many backups and reserves, today’s game shouldn’t affect the way you look at either club as they enter competitive competition.

 

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